For years, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or "superbugs," have raised growing concerns both inside the medical industry and out. These discussions have lead to increased awareness about unnecessary antibiotics use as a significant contributor to this resistance. Despite this, the widespread use of antibiotics in both humans and agriculture, and inadequate research on new antibiotics, has resulted in more antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.
Last month, the American Society for Microbiology reported a bacterial infection within the United States that was resistant to even the strongest antibiotics. "The recent discovery of a plasmid-borne colistin resistance gene, mcr-1, heralds the emergence of truly pan-drug resistant bacteria," wrote the researchers. Such bacteria have also been found in Europe and elsewhere, highlighting the importance of a global-scale focus on research and minimization of antibiotics use. But individuals are also called upon to lead healthy, active lifestyles to do their part. Healthy individuals with strong immune systems are more likely to fight off infections without antibiotics and less likely to spread infections to others. Maintaining individual health can help bolster health at the population level, protecting large groups of people from the effects of resistant strains of bacteria.